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Improving Equitable Birth & Maternal Health Outcomes for Black Families

WHEREAS, the determinants of health are 1) behavior ~ 40% (mostly driven by education), 2) environment ~ 35% (driven by wealth, employment, income and housing, etc.), 3) medical care ~15% and 4) heredity ~ 10%; and

WHEREAS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications compared to white women, yet most racial and ethnic disparities in maternal and infant mortality are preventable; and

WHEREAS, the Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies Act (the Maternal CARE Act) was passed in 2019 to address disparities in maternal and infant mortality; and

WHEREAS, risk for negative maternal and child health disparities are increased by preventable chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease, diabetes, obesity, and more; and

WHEREAS, a recent study in Scientific American concluded white female patients have the same or better health outcomes when treated by a Black physician, but Black female patients' health outcomes are remarkably worse when treated by white providers; and

WHEREAS, barriers to health care, including lack of health insurance, limited access to providers, and culturally inappropriate care, especially in rural areas, are major contributors to disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes; and

WHEREAS, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 is seeking congressional support to build on existing legislation to address all aspects of the maternal health crisis in America comprehensively, including but not limited to the social and environmental drivers of poor maternal health outcomes; culturally sensitive care for all mothers; key health risks impacting pregnant and postpartum veterans; maternal mental health care and substance abuse treatment; and more robust data analysis and quality improvement measures; and 

WHEREAS, the use of trained pregnancy companions, who may not be health care professionals but support individuals through childbirth or other significant health-related experiences, is associated with decreased birth complications for both mother and child; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocates for the adoption of the MOMNIBUS Act of 2021 and full funding to improve equitable birth and maternal health outcomes for Black mothers and families.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP urge all its units to work with health care providers to educate them on the effects of bias in health outcomes.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP will support efforts to study whether more African American trained pregnancy companions will have a significant impact on reducing Black maternal and infant mortality.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP will monitor and support federal and state efforts to adopt legislation that provide Medicaid coverage for care provided by trained pregnancy companions.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms our resolutions demanding affordable and equitable health care for all Americans, including the "Regarding Health Care for All (Universal Health Care)" resolution of 2006, the "NAACP Calls for Full Implementation of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act" resolution of 2013, the "Prescription Drugs – Eliminating Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PMB) Gag Clauses" resolution of 2018, and the "NAACP Supports Affordable, Quality Health Care Now" resolution of 2020.